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Children of parents with intellectual disability: Facing poor outcomes or faring okay?

Collings, Susan, Llewellyn, Gwynnyth,

Academic Literature


This is a comprehensive review of the literature to investigate if the children of parents with intellectual disability are at risk of poor outcomes.

Two groups of studies were identified. The first investigated an association between parental intellectual disability and child outcomes where there was significant disadvantage. Some findings suggest low parental intellectual capacity can negatively impact child outcomes, but others indicate child development approaches population norms. A second, small group of studies explored narrative accounts of childhood to find that social exclusion, bullying, and stigma are commonplace. Removal from parental care emerged as a significant risk for this group of children.

Studies focusing on child development represent 85% of the literature but reach no consensus about likely developmental or behavioural outcomes. Children studied usually come from clinical populations or other high-risk groups, and are typically young children.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability

Location : International

Domain/s: Health and wellbeing, Social relationships

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